“Most of my family and friends tried to talk me out of marrying him,” Tracy’s story begins. “But I was young and thought I was in love.”
They moved a few towns away and it wasn’t long before her new husband took control of her life, insisting that she dress a certain way, fix her hair in a plain style and never wear makeup. She was not allowed to go out without him and became isolated from friends and family.
If he found her wearing makeup or dressing up in any way, he accused her of cheating. He hit her and physical abuse became a repeated part of their marriage.
Tracy left him more than once, but each time he wooed her back with apologies and promises to change. “I didn’t want to believe I’d made a mistake marrying this man and I had a stepson to consider,” she recalls. There were always reasons to go back and when she did, their relationship would be calm for a couple of months.
But eventually, the abuse would start again. When she realized that her marriage was never going to be what she hoped, Tracy began looking for a safe way out. Her husband had threatened to harm her and her family if she left again. And then when her husband was jailed briefly, Tracy called her brother in New Hampshire to come and get her.
For a while she felt safe, but her husband found her and called her and she realized she was always looking over her shoulder, waiting for the worst.
When she went to court for a restraining order, Tracy learned about Turning Points Network. A TPN Advocate met her at court and they talked about her situation and how TPN could help. Tracy was relieved to have TPN speak with her to the judge and she received an order barring her husband from entering the state. She also made use of counselling from TPN over the next several months that helped her transition to a new life, free of her husband’s control and abuse – all at no cost to her.
Today, Tracy celebrates 16 happily married years to her second husband. Together they are raising two beautiful daughters. Tracy is grateful to Turning Points Network because they had so many services available when she needed help. She is also thankful that TPN provides violence-prevention programs in our schools so that “My daughters will learn to recognize those subtle signs I missed in the beginning.”
“I had my turning point,” Tracy smiles. “And I share my story for the next person who needs their turning point.”
OUR TURN is a public service series made available by Turning Points Network in celebration of its 40th anniversary of providing violence-prevention education programs in our schools, services for survivors of domestic and sexual violence, and helping people move from the darkness of abuse toward the light of respect, healing and hope. For information contact 1.800.639.3130 or www.turningpointsnetwork.org or find us on Facebook.